Barbara Leach (1959 to 2nd September 1979)

 

Here I am just a short uphill walk from the centre of Bradford where the streets of Victorian terraces are given over to university students. It was here that Peter Sutcliffe murdered Barbara Leach, a 20-year-old student (he preferred to murder prostitutes who were likely to be driven away to secluded places.) Im shown here on Ashgrove where he struck Barbara and then round the back where he dumped her.

 

Barbara was studying social psychology and was about to start her final year when she joined friends for an evening drink at a pub on Saturday 1st September 1979. It closed at 11pm but she and her friends helped the landlord collect empty glasses in exchange for a free drink. Even though it was raining lightly at 12:45 am when they left Barbara decided to walk home to her shared accommodate at Grove Terrace. None of her friends joined her but they didnt feel bad; they knew she enjoyed taking late night walks to think and take in the night air.

 

In his Rover 3.5 FHY 400K was Peter Sutcliffe who had spotted her peel away from her friends. Hed be cruising around the area and admitted later he was out of control and ready to kill (it had been 150 days since the last attack.) He was dressed to kill: back at home hed replaced his underpants with an upside down V-neck sweater. His legs went down the arms and his penis swung freely.

 

He followed the lone student. Hed been tinkering with this car earlier that day and wanted to test it. He was only three miles from his home in Heaton. He watch Barbara who turned left into Ashgrove and parked up ahead of her. Alighting from the car he allowed Barbara to pass him before smashing the back of her head with his ball peen hammer. Barbara went down instantly and was moaning but a house party at number 16 blared out music through open windows. Sutcliffe dragged her groaning body up the side of number 13 and into the back yard. He did what he normally did with his victims - pushed up her top and bra to expose her breasts and pulled down her jeans - before stabbing away viciously. He used a sharpened screwdriver - the one hed killed Josephine Whitaker with. He placed the body in a jack-knife position behind a low wall where the dustbins were usually kept, covered her with an old piece of carpet and put some stones on top. On the way home he threw the screwdriver away over the embankment near Hartshead Service Station.

 

Barbaras roommates were concerned when she didnt return on Sunday and before the day expired they called the police. A police search ensued and the following day Barbaras body was found. The wounds were commiserate with previous Yorkshire Ripper butchery though it was unusual for the victim to be a student.

I took a few photographs of 13 Ashgrove knowing this is where a young life ended. The gap between numbers 13 and 15 is still present though a green fence has been erected preventing access to the back yard. I walked around the back of the terraces but met another green fence. I thought perhaps all the nearby alleys had such fences but this was the only one. They'd obviously been erected by the council to keep weirdos like me at bay. I did a salute and left. Poor kid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police searched down the back of Ash Grove...

 

 

 

 

 

The time from Barbara leaving to the pub to her murder was about thirty minutes...

 

Barbara's mum...